Haute pot

San Francisco's foodies are bringing new tastes and sensibilities to eating marijuana

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PHOTO BY BEN HOPFER

steve@sfbg.com

CANNABIS Marijuana edibles have come a long way in a short time.

Just a few years ago, the norm was still brownies of uncertain dosage that tasted like eating weed, right down to the occasional stem or lump of leaf, served in a wax paper envelope. But now the foodies have gotten into the game, producing a huge variety of tasty treats that are incredibly delicious even before the munchies kick in.

San Francisco could be on the verge of a culinary revolution that would parallel those being experienced in the realms of boutique eateries, gourmet coffee, and high-end street food vendors — except for the fact that makers of cannabis edibles still reside in a legal limbo.

As long as they're operating under the umbrella of a cannabis collective, getting marijuana from its growers and selling through its dispensaries, then the weed bakers are in compliance with state law. But they're still illegal under federal law, and even California law doesn't allow them to operate independently as wholesalers, making it difficult to scale up operations and do more than just break even financially.

Judging from the skittishness of some of San Francisco's top edibles producers — who didn't want to be identified by their real names and were wary of letting us know too much about their operations — they perform this labor of love under a cloud of understandable paranoia.

"Unfortunately, secrecy is a rule we have to live by, day in and day out," said the founder of Auntie Dolores, who we'll call Jay. She makes a line of popular, strong, and yummy products that include pretzels, chili lime peanuts, caramel corn, and cookies of all kinds.

Yet the legal threats haven't stopped producers from professionalizing the edibles industry — in terms of quality control, packaging, consistency, and innovation — and drawing on foodie sensibilities and their own culinary training to develop creative new products that effectively mask or subtly incorporate that bitter cannabis taste.

"We're all about masking the flavor of the cannabis because I really don't like the flavor that much," Jay said of products that are stronger than most but somehow without a hint of weed in them. "People here have a high standard. It's their medicine and their food, and we have a lot of foodies who are really into our products."

Choco-Potamus is an example of this new generation of edibles, combining gourmet chocolate-making with the finest strains of cannabis, using only the best buds rather than the leaves and other plant matter that have often gone into edibles. Mrs. Hippo, the pseudonym of the chief baker, has worked for a national company in the food industry for about a decade, mostly doing branding, and it shows in this eye-catching product.

"I'm kind of a foodie. We have friends who roast whole pigs and brew their own beer, that kind of thing," she said. "Really good high-grade marijuana has some really great flavor qualities, particularly when combined with cocoa. I really want the patients to enjoy the flavor, not just the feeling."

 

EAT YOUR MEDICINE

Steve DeAngelo, founder of Oakland's Harborside Health Center, one of the Bay Area's biggest dispensaries, said edibles have been increasingly popular, particularly among older users, patients with medical conditions that make smoking problematic, or those who prefer the longer body highs of eating it.

"Our sales of edibles has trended steadily upward since we opened," DeAngelo said, noting that last year the club sold $1.2 million in edibles, about 5.5 percent of total sales, compared to $306,000 (3.2 percent) after they opened in 2006. "As an absolute amount, we've seen the amount of edibles quadruple in the last four and a half years. As percentage of sales, we've seen it double."

Comments

Indeed, cannabis-infused edibles production is becoming more professional and sophisticated in California. In fact, an industry association has already been formed by a number of edibles producers in order to agree upon standards for dosage, and packaging and labeling. CAPSCE, the California Association for the Production of Safe Cannabis-infused Edibles, encourages other cities to consider San Francisco's pragmatic, common-sense model of regulation.

Posted by Guest David R on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

Understanding that the tobacco industry already owns the "best" names. Here are some suggestions.

Cannabus And Kittens Excellent! (C.A.K.E. - cf, the UK Show "Brass Eye" and "Cake")

POTWECANEAT - People of the World we enjoy, Cannibus and new entertaining art together!

WEEED - We eat eat eat drugs.

FACEBOOK - Finally a community existing but oh oh kittens!

Posted by Chief 420 on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

Here at Incredible Edibles we make it a priority to bring fresh, high quality ingredients together with top grade medical cannabis in order to deliver the best and most delectable products. We prepare our goodies with the same amount of THC to ensure a consistent and reliable effect. It’s no wonder that our quality creations not only excite the palate, but also comfort the body.

Our Kitchens are based in San Francisco, so feel good about supporting the Bay Area Medical Cannabis Community and enjoy our delicious pastries and sweets with pride.

Get Incredible Edibles at The Green Cross or The Green Door in San Francisco.

Posted by Incredible Edibles on Jan. 26, 2011 @ 7:57 am

CHOCO-POTAMUS bars can be found in the Bay Area at SPARC in San Francisco, Harborside Health Center in Oakland and El Camino Wellness in Sacramento.

We make Dark Chocolate Sativa, Indica and Blend bars as well as Milk Chocolate Sativa, Indica and Blends. Each bar is 1 ounce and contains 300 mg cannabis.

Posted by Guest CHOCO-POTAMUS on Jan. 26, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

Making edibles is an art of it's own! I give you props! :o) I'd love to learn!!! Keep up the good work!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

Am I the only one thinking that professionally produced pot candy and popcorn will be a HUGE gateway for children? I've tried Chocopotamus and it will really get you high. I agree with legalization, but should we make it so tempting for young kids?

Posted by Guest Worried on Jan. 29, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

there is no gate way drug, and if there is it's probably alcohol. the bottles look the same as soda bottles.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

incredible edibles--- fresh, high quality ingredients? check the box you make the cookies from before making that statement. Personally haven't found the incredible edibles to have any effect worth spending money on. The milk chocolate from Choco Potamus is a definite must try. my two cents

Posted by Genius on Feb. 07, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

CHOCO-POTAMUS is a medicinal product, not for children, and we certainly hope that patients that purchase our bars keep all medication secure so that curious kids won't find them.

Posted by Guest CHOCO-POTAMUS on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

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